New images of the arrest of the US Navy in the waters of Iran
On January 12, 2016, two United States Navy riverine command boats were seized by Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy after they entered Iranian territorial waters near Iran’s Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. Initially, the U.S. military claimed the sailors inadvertently entered Iranian waters owing to mechanical failure, but it was later reported that they entered Iranian waters because of navigational errors. The U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, called the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif within five minutes. His call was followed by multiple other phone calls between the two ministers. The sailors had a brief verbal exchange with the Iranian military and were released, unharmed, 15 hours later.
The release was hailed by the Obama administration as an unintended benefit of the new diplomatic relationship, in reality, Iran snapped pictures of captured US sailors and used them as propaganda. Some U.S. Republican 2016 presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump criticized the U.S. response to the detention, which they deemed too weak.